We will not let men hog OTT: Sarwat Gilani

‘Qaatil Haseenas' appeared on ‘Time Out with Ahsan Khan’ to talk about quintessential TV roles following OTT debuts


Entertainment Desk January 15, 2022

Sarwat Gillani, who seems to have found a new home on OTT, is set to embark on another vengeful journey with Qatil Haseenaon Ke Naam (QHKN), and the actor has a lot to say about the medium that has helped her tap into her acting potential with its openness to embrace various kinds of characters.

Meher Bano, another relatively young diva who is out to write her own script in the world of acting, isn’t ready to take on quintessential, run-of-the-mill characters any time soon, even if that means landing prominent roles on a popular platform. And both the artists, who are going to be seen in QHKN, a Zee Prime original directed by British-Indian filmmaker Meenu Gaur, recently appeared on Time Out with Ahsan Khan to discuss what makes them tick.

“I think the web is a medium where you don’t get the time to do a lot of drama and I’m glad that you [Ahsan] picked up the pace really quickly,” Gillani kicked off the discussions with compliments to the host, who will also be playing a villain in the upcoming show. “I just feel we have a lot of actors, who do not receive the kind of critical acclaim they should because of the roles they’re being offered. And on OTT, they shine. Meher Bano is one of them,” responded Khan.

Gillani chimed in, “I agree. I have done Churails with her [Bano], she played a completely different character. But watching her in Qaatil Haseenaon, I was blown away. The darkness inside her, in her eyes, it’s unbelievably convincing.”
 


Bano clarified that while she’s not as threatening in real life, she is thankful for characters that bring out this weird side of her. “Because we all have it [this weirdness] in us and we are dying to take it out. Ahsan mentioned that I’m rarely seen on the small screen, that’s just because I really hand pick my roles. I’m working on something completely different with him these days. And even you [Ahsan] know that no one ever approaches me for the role of a quintessential heroine anyway.”

The host claimed they would approach her if she manoeuvres herself accordingly. “But I feel the roles of damsels in distress are not my cup of tea, they’re very limited. There might be some realism to them. But I’m more interested in doing genuinely powerful characters, breakout characters, empowered women. Especially now that we’ve done wronged women who are out to take revenge, I find that so much more exciting,” maintained Bano. “I am an actor, in the true sense of the word, or at least that’s what I aspire to be.”

Khan, however, joked about the series being centred around ‘haseen’ women despite there being so many ‘handsome’ men, including himself, Osman Khalid Butt, Saleem Mairaj and Sheheryar Munawwar, in it too.

“No Ahsan, we will not let you men hog this medium too,” quipped Gillani. “Though I must say,” she added, “We’ve always told stories about women in films, in parallel cinema, on TV. But on web, we finally have women telling their own stories, which is why these stories are hitting closer to home, even if they are based on fantasy.”

Asked if online streaming platforms would ever be able to amass the kind of viewership television has, the Jawani Phir Nahi Ani star responded hopefully. “They will because people want to watch new things, even the people working on our television. When we did Churails, we also thought people will get really offended and wouldn’t understand. But the response we got made us realise that the people are ready and they want to watch. And these shows are also being created by Pakistanis, whether whichever foreign medium they’re on.”

Khan also claimed that the creativity of our artists, their acting, our storytelling, our camera work, everything “meets international standards, the locations, the aesthetics we add, everything looks brilliant.”

Gillani went on to point out that even seasoned actors like herself and Khan, who have been working for a long time now, could never tap into their acting skills the way they can now. “Bano is still relatively younger but we have never seen each other perform like this,” she told Khan. “I’ve never seen you act so brilliantly. We are the same people, the same actors. But it is because of these new platforms and directors like Meenu, Asim Abbasi and Mehreen Jabbar, who know how to make us act. So, I think we need to appreciate these new avenues and the directors who are doing a fantastic job with us.”

To conclude, Bano also recalled how she ventured into acting because of a filmmaker like Sarmad Khoosat, who noticed her potential and offered her a role when she was only a teenager.  “I did a play in my school theatre and Sarmad Khoosat saw me. He called me the next day for a play in Karachi. I was 17 and I told my father, he said no. I eventually convinced him and he told me to take my younger sister along. So, I came with her and did the play and disappeared because my dad really wanted me to complete my studies before perusing any career. Which was necessary.”

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